Monday, November 11, 2013

The 11th Hour, on the 11th Day of the 11th Month

Alina's Poppy on her jacket
 Today is a special day. It is November 11th, Remembrance Day. Today we honour those that fought specifically in both World Wars, the Korean War and all of the other conflicts that the Canadian Forces assisted in. 
 I've mentioned a time or two, that I live in a retirement community. In 2011 the average age in town was sixty three. Remembrance Day is taken very seriously in our town because many of our residents experienced real war. They lived it, remember how they felt during it and often experienced the loss of it in many ways. I mentioned in a past post, "Our Fallen Fathers" what kinds of stories I heard often, working with the elderly. The gentlemen with his milky eyes and his shaky hands passed me his prescription for his heart medicine. He slowly opened his wallet and I saw a photo of what I assumed was him, in a military uniform. His face was filled with innocence and youth. Nothing at all like the man that stood before me... I remember the day well, when I saw the difference that age and experience make...
 I feel like a broken record when I write about Remembrance Day because there is no way to put in words, what true emotion is felt today, by so many. I obviously have never experienced war. I don't know what it's like to send my husband off for months, even years to danger.. to uncertainty. I don't know what it's like to feel afraid for my own safety because the town nearest to mine is being bombed and I can hear the explosions in the distance. My step dad and his family immigrated from Germany in 1957.  His father, my Grandpa fought in World War II for Germany. He was shot in the leg and taken prisoner. He lied and said he was a barber to give his life value. He fought on a different side, but he experienced Germany in World War II. Shudder. It's unimaginable. The bits and pieces of stories that I have overheard from the dinner table as a child... Grandma would say something completely shocking, so shocking that Mom and Rudi discussed it on the drive home in hushed tones. War is war, wherever it is fought. Pain and loss happens to everyone involved.
  I get annoyed with the old man that pretends not to notice me in line ahead of him. He just walks in front of me and steals my place. Or the elderly couple that parks in Parent Parking, leaving me in the rain with my little one, far from the front door. I get angry and so annoyed. But, a little voice inside my head reminds me; "Get over it! They probably experienced WAR you brat. So what, wait a little longer .. or walk a little farther!" I'm stereotyping a bit. But, the thought certainly crosses my mind when these situations occur. 
  Instead of going on and on, like I usually do.. I took video of the parade going by our house this morning. Alina and I could hear the drums drumming from inside, so we quickly threw on our jackets and headed out to the driveway to show our support.

(Sorry for the shaky quality and the heavy breathing..!)
 It's important to us that Alina knows what Remembrance Day is all about. Every generation needs to know so that they never forget. Every Remembrance Day I hope she watches heartbreaking videos at school. I hope that someone speaks on behalf of a veteran that they once knew from those times. By the time Alina is in school, there won't be any World War II Veterans left. Every year, we will take Alina to the end of our driveway, to see that small group of survivors get smaller and smaller. She will go with us to the celebrations to pray for others, to keep quiet for the minute of silence at 11:00 and to show her respect for those she will never know.. but hopefully, never forget. 
 I dedicate this post to everyone, that is affected by war; yesterday, today and tomorrow... Thank you for all that you do, so others may live.


Helene in Between said...

that is so special that you have a parade. and it must be interesting and kind of fun to live in a community so that you really get the chance to honor those around you and remember them.

completely off topic, it's really hard to comment on your blog. I usually have to refresh the page a few times before i do. i would suggest switching your comment settings to be on the same page or a pop up box. let me know if you have questions about that!

Helene in Between said...

Much better :)

Amanda said...

I never even thought about how there won't be any WWII Veteran's left for Alina to meet. It's really strange to think that a generation of people that we've always had around will be gone altogether soon. But thank you for drawing attention to it, because it really makes you appreciate them more. x

Jade Wright said...

This is a gorgeous post Haley - and I am so happy to read that Alina has such amazing parents that really want her to know all about this sort of stuff. It is so relevant and real... she's a lucky little lady to have you!

Not sure I knew that you lived in a retirement village!! Heavy days! Sounds smaller than even my tiny town!!!!

Have you started your letter?


Brianna said...

So amazing that you get to really truly FEEL the emotions from veterans! I agree with you 100%: war is war. What I think is just horrible happening in my little life, there are so many others that volunteered (or not) to stand in harm's way fighting...really fighting!

Such a great post, girl!

Noor said...

It's great that you got to live around such wonderful people . They've served your country in a great way ! And ofcourse , there life experiences are way too different than us . Bravo men!
Our remembrance day is near (Dec) and I am all pumped now :)